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Hiroshi Ishiguro unveils body-double robot

By Kristen Butler, UPI.com   |   June 17, 2013 at 7:58 AM
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Japanese scientist and robotics expert Hiroshi Ishiguro unveiled his latest android this weekend at the Global Futures 2045 International Congress in New York, a futuristic conference focused on the technological singularity.

Ishiguro, director of the Intelligent Robotics Laboratory at Osaka University, Japan, has been known for developing lifelike androids, including a female used to sell clothing in a shop window, and "Telenoid," a robot designed to appear ageless and genderless so that people can project any face onto it -- a design he says has gone over well with the elderly in Denmark.

The "Geminoid" looks just like its creator, right down to the blinking of its eyes. It was controlled remotely from offstage, using a microphone to capture speech and a camera to track face and head movements.

Ishiguro told the audience that if he wasn’t feeling up to delivering a speech, then the android could theoretically serve as his stand-in. He said that the Geminoid could serve as his body double for numerous engagements.

Robot "surrogacy" -- a human-controlled robot standing in for its controller -- is gaining popularity, recently as a way for sick or disabled children to attend school.

At the end of the talk, the android version of Ishiguro joked that it would give a much better presentation than its human inventor the next time.

Ishiguro's robots have been covered many times by major media, and received Best Humanoid Award four times in RoboCup. In 2007, Synectics Survey of Contemporary Genius selected him as one of the top 100 geniuses alive in the world today.

But Ishiguro is likely most famous for the Geminoid F -- “F” for female -- also known in Japan as the "love bot." The project's goal was to create a "seamless, humanoid robot," and it went over well with Japanese men.

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